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IMG_0012EI have been teaching for almost 8 months and have had several vacation days and was always baffled by the process teachers must go through to get those days here. Now that spring vacation is around the corner, this subject popped back into my sights and this time in a more absurd way.

In the United States we have many problems and inefficiencies but here it is extra strange and inefficient. Say I, along with the kids and other teachers, have this Friday and Monday off for a school holiday. In order for me to have the day off with no problems, I must log into the NEIS system, which is only available in Korean. Thankfully I have a coordinator whose job it is to do these types of things for me.

In NEIS I have to request the day off, even though it is already given off. In this request I must state why I would like the day off. I should also write what I will do with my time of and where I will go. But wait, I cant simply say because it’s a freaking school day off and that you can find me chilling on the beach. Nope! School vacation days are for teachers to do educational things like workshops or self study. And teachers as Government employees must be on call for emergencies.  It is expected that teachers don’t travel far outside of the city where they work.

Kids on Playground

What kind of emergency could A teacher  possibly be called in for? Has the populations ignorance hit a critical low and we are calling emergency supplemental instruction? One teacher I work with joked saying maybe in the event that aliens attack, indicating even Koreans bewilderment. However, there was a case a few years back when a typhoon ripped a few holes in the roof of the school, creating cascades in the classrooms and rivers in the halls. Teachers were called in to help with cleanup and repairs; Is that even in my contract?

What do you  think about  work dictating where you can go and what you can do with their own free time?